UN slams Greece on migrants

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) yesterday called on European Union states to stop sending would-be migrants back to Greece as its record in handling asylum seekers is too poor. A European directive, called the Dublin Regulation, demands that migrants lodge their asylum claim in the first EU country they enter. But the UNHCR says asylum seekers arriving in Greece are often denied basic rights, including interpreters and legal aid. It also expressed concern about the quality of reception centers and procedures, noting that Greece had made some progress but that this had been inadequate. «The UNHCR advises governments to refrain from returning asylum seekers to Greece until further notice,» the agency said in a report made public yesterday. Meanwhile, a new reception center for child migrants was inaugurated at Amygdaleza, west of Athens. The center, which can hold some 50 migrants, has on-site doctors, psychologists and interpreters. In a related development, the UNHCR hosted an awareness-raising event at a migrant reception center in Lavrion, southeastern Attica.